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The holidays are a great time to gift an advent calendar to someone or pick up one for yourself to enjoy. This is particularly true when there is whiskey involved. Luckily there are some great options to check out. There are advent calendars featuring every type of whiskey, from American to Scotch to Irish to the rest of the world, allowing you to sample a small dram each day in December. Here is a list of some of the best options you can find now, from budget to splurge-worthy in every whiskey category.
Best Overall: Whiskies of the Galaxy Advent Calendar
Every year, the whiskey club website Flaviar releases its Whiskies of the Galaxy advent calendar, pushing the realm of the whiskey world to a cosmic perspective. That’s all a bit of fun, of course, but the calendar does feature 24 “out of this world” drams to sample from America (bourbon, rye, single malt), Japan, Israel, Scotland, and Ireland. Featured distilleries include Balcones, Kavalan, Locke + Co, and Wyoming Whiskey. The calendar also comes with a Glencairn glass and flavor wheel to help guide you through your tasting.
Best Splurge: Drinks by the Dram Old and Rare Advent Calendar
This whisky advent calendar is certainly a splurge, but the reason for that is the actual samples that are included. These are certainly old and rare whiskies, as indicated in the name. Some examples include Balvenie 30 Year Old, Bunnahabhain 40-Year-Old, WhistlePig 13-Year-Old—The Boss Hog 2018 Edition, and Glenburgie 1989 (cask 14087). The price for this calendar might be high, but the chance to try these select whiskies, some of which are releases that will never be repeated, is arguably priceless.
Best Budget: Crown Royal Advent Calendar
This whisky advent calendar is in our budget category for a reason—it only includes whisky made by Canadian distillery Crown Royal. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, however, as there are plenty of tasty expressions to try from the distillery. This leans heavily on the flavored whiskies, like Peach, Apple, and Vanilla. But Crown Royal Black and the classic Fine De Luxe are included as well, giving you a lovely snapshot into the world of blended Canadian whisky.
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Best International: World Whisky Advent Calendar
The stars of the whisky world are countries like Scotland, Ireland, and the US. But of course, there are excellent whiskies to try from so many other countries, and this calendar offers a great opportunity to travel the whisky world from the comfort of your own home. Try Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky from South Africa, Mars Kasei from Japan, Stauning Rye from Denmark, and Kyrö Malt Rye Whisky from Finland, among many other drams.
Best American: Bourbon Advent Calendar
Fans of bourbon are always on the hunt for new bottles and old favorites. This American whiskey advent calendar focuses on bourbon, in particular, offering a nice sampling of the many flavors of America’s native spirit. There are samples of brands from famous distilleries included here, like Eagle Rare, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, and many others. Try one every day, and hopefully, you’ll be exposed to something you’ve never tried before and absolutely love.
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Best Scotch: That Boutique-y Whiskey Company Advent Calendar
Some of the best bottles of scotch single malt whisky come from independent bottling companies, who select barrels from various distilleries to bottle, and sometimes mature the barrels themselves. That Boutique-y Whisky Company does the former and has compiled some of them into this unique scotch whisky advent calendar. Samples include Aberlour - Batch 7 - 9 Year Old, Jura - Batch 5 - 20 Year Old, Tomatin - Batch 5 - 36 Year Old, and a few American and Irish samples along for the ride as well. But the main focus is scotch and likely whiskies you have never tried before.
Flaviar’s Whiskies of the Galaxy advent calendar (view at Flaviar) is the best option to buy. It isn’t the cheapest, but it offers a really interesting range of whiskies from around the world (despite its name, we have yet to discover intergalactic whiskey as of yet). You can try select drams from Wyoming, Scotland, Israel, and Texas, showcasing the variety of different whiskey flavor profiles that make this spirit so fascinating.
What to Look For
Whiskey advent calendars usually have a particular theme, so keep this in mind when looking. You can explore bourbon, scotch, Japanese whisky, or go for one that offers an array of samples from various countries. There are different price points to consider, too—the older and more rare the whisky in the calendar, the more expensive it will be. And some come with a few accouterments like a tasting glass and tasting notes.
How much lead time do you need to order gifts around the holidays?
Some go on sale months in advance and sell out quickly. So the earlier you order, the better. And time is of the essence as some ship from overseas. But if you start looking now, you should be able to get one in time for the holidays.
How long does it keep?
Whiskey will last virtually forever in the bottle, as long as you keep it out of direct sunlight and away from extreme temperature fluctuations.
Can you ship alcohol?
You can ship alcohol to most states, and the website where you order will let you know if there are any limitations on this.
Why Trust Liquor.com?
Jonah Flicker is an experienced writer who has been covering spirits and traveling the world visiting distilleries to taste and discover for many years. His work has appeared in many different national outlets covering trends, new releases, and the stories and innovators behind the spirits. His first love remains whiskey, but he is partial to tequila, rum, gin, cognac, and all things distilled.
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